There are many ways I strive to be frugal, organized, speedy & keep my meals flavorful during the week.
One of them is of course writing a menu
typically on Friday by then I have gotten all the sale ads from my usual "haunts" and
in my area they are all varied most end during the week,
only one grocery store I cherry pick deals at has there sales end on Sat~
so this day is very good for me to organize my meals around what is on sale that week.
I typically will keep certain items on hand in my regular pantry and when it's on sale I will buy bulk of like:
- Pasta shapes (This I can't make them yet, I might try my hand at a few but for now I only make pasta noodles-once a month it is too costly, the eggs are the costly items)
- Egg Noodles (for times I don't have the time or resources to make myself)
- Chicken &Beef Stock (I usually have a couple quarts of stock in freezer, but I like to keep 3 boxes of GOOD stock in pantry in case I run out)
- Sweetened Condensed Milk (I KNOW, I KNOW!! but this keeps me from buying coffee at that expensive coffee cafe)
- Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunnie Cheddar Cheese crackers
- Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunnie Snack Mix
- Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheese and shells
- Annie's Homegrown Organic Ravioli
- Triscuits Woven Wheat Crackers
- Veggie Chips
- POP chips in sweet potato
- Organic glass jarred fruit and fruit spreads
- Tomato Puree
- Unbleached Flour
- Eggs(fridge, will keep quite some time, do buy from a CSA but need more than budget allows)
- Cheeses (Shredded or block)
- Bagels (don't make these)
- Bread Dough (I try to keep about 4 loaves of homemade bread in case we run out or something happens to supply)
- Almonds- slices and whole
- Frozen Organic when can afford fruit and veggies- sometimes they are cheaper than buying fresh produce off season
- Bulk Yeast
- Baking supplies I don't often use like brown sugar, baking soda and cornstarch
- Meats (Hopefully we can afford to buy a grass fed pastured side of beef this year, until then it's on my lists of items I will buy in bulk when it's on sale)
- Chicken (Half Boneless skinless breasts/half split breasts-but will get 4 whole chickens if the price is right and cook up for meat and stock),
- Roasts (I'll cut into strips, chunks or medallions),
- Ground beef (will make meatballs, taco seasoned meat, Salisbury steak patties, meat loaf, hamburger patties, the rest will be in one LB increments.) Typically I will triple any starter or meal I freezer- it is faster this way, all ready have ingredients and recipe in my head.
- Pork center cut loin- We don't eat pork that much I am not a fan of the flavor typically I will make my mom's Hot Pepper Pork, BBQ Pulled Pork, Pork Fried Rice, Breaded and seasoned medallions)
- Fish (Flounder, Maui Maui, Talapia, Orange Roughy, White Fish, a few Salmon)
|Great way to organize freezer|
Fortunately I do have a large chest freezer that holds up to 300Lbs of food, I have in the past packed up 390+ meals-some meal kits some& heat'n'eat meals. I was very ambitious and had 6 months worth of 5day/week meals-breakfast, lunch, supper+ some snacks and some sides. As well as some yeast, frozen veggies, bulk yeast, almonds and that sort of thing...You get the idea it is HUGE.
However that is the freezer I solely use for bulk cooking and supplies and it is located in my garage. In my house I use the freezer attached to my fridge as a pantry, I save a ton of time and money plus up the entity when it comes to flavor just by saving a few things people might throw away.
- Citrus peels I have a post on uses for this, you would BE AMAZED at what you could do with some citrus peels
- Wax wrapping on butter sticks- use to grease pans, works great and saves loads of money, no more spray filled with chemicals
- Veggies from dinner that no one has ate- I keep a baggie of left over cooked veggies from various meals and typically after a month's time I have enough to make either veggie soup & or veggie stock, or I will make some mashed potatoes, throw in the veggies along with thickened broth and any left over meats I have and call it cowboy pie
- Soup starters, similar to veggies in bag but these are celery, onion, crushed & minced garlic gloves, and carrots I have fine diced for most of my soup I will freeze for soup starter. These are typically veggies that tend to go bad in the fridge and in the past my most frequent offenders for spoilage, as I am not a fan of the taste but will use in a few recipes and they sit in fridge until I throw them out. So my clever solution, finely dice and I have soup starter, just add some EVOO or butter to pan saute and add rest of soup ingredients.
- Smoothie packets, I will take fruit that is about to go bad and chop into freezer baggies, gr8 for smoothies just add some yogurt and Kale's Yeast flakes and some pureed veggies
- Pureed veggies and fruit, I will take some fruit on it's last day of fresh any except oranges and puree for smoothies or veggies mainly spinach, carrots, beets, celery and fresh parsley and puree if about to go bad and puree them for smoothies as well, or add to applesauce or yogurt or to make veggie stock
- Roasted Beef Bone & Chicken skin and bone stock- I will keep the bones from ribs, roasts, steaks and place in freezer baggie until full and use to make healthy & flavorful stock, same with chicken skin and bones from previous meals
- Fat scooped from Chicken stock- I can't stand all that fat, so I will skim a lot of it and render it with an onion and use if for soups- this is what Matzo ball soup starter is and it is quite spendy in the stores
- Fat scraped off of bone broth, use as tallow in place of butter, virgin coconut or olive oil.
- Bacon and sausage drippings, I NEVER let these go to waste a few teaspoons of well placed bacon or sausage drippings can bring so much flavor to a dish though this will raise more than a few eyebrows lets face it a few calories for some flavor and the kids will eat it, I will pick my battles. I will use sausage drippings for a twice a year treat of sausage gravy, this is a sometimes food, but a nice treat
- Ginger Root, grates easier when frozen and will last months in freezer.
- I keep the expensive Parmigiano Regginao and Peccerino Ramono as well as Asiago in the freezer bags wrapped in paper towel to keep the ice crystals from forming (One of my bestie's Sicilian mom's tips), not anything out of the ordinary to keep cheese in freezer but what most ppl throw out is the ...
- Rind of the Parmigiano Regginao or Peccarino Romano to add flavor to soups, this an amazing tip for me anyway, I never knew to do this until I heard about this tip somewhere. I used to throw the rinds away, all that flavor went in the trash...NOW I save it for when I make Italian Wedding soup makes it taste amazing. I might even use my rind I have in freezer now for my pasta sauce...
- Veggie Cooking water
- Escarole & peeled chopped celery cooking liquid- when I make Italian wedding soup I cook the escarole with celery to make a little tender b4 adding to soup. I save the reserved water I don't use in the soup for later uses, love it in any clear broth, gives it a depth of flavor
- Potato water- when I boil potatoes for mashed potatoes I will save the water for the liquid replacement in making baked goods like bread, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, biscuits, add to soups, pierogie dough for extra flavor or texture, clear starch you can use as soon as cools for a very green & frugal clothes starch, a sour dough starter, some ppl even use the water for a tightening mask for mature sagging skin. Most of the time I will use a small amount with the mashed potatoes after I have dried them so they don't get sticky and over starchy, then add a small amount of cooking liquid along with heated up whole milk that I have added some whey to make it like a buttermilk, YUM!! The rest I will LABEL so I don't forget what it is & freeze to use as I mentioned above~ More Ideas here and this recipe site called Food.com that has great recipes that call either for the potatoes and water and or the peelings
- Ice cubes & qt sized freezer bags of Veggie Broth: how to make here this recipe is pretty much what I do(made from fresh veggies on their last days-this way I don't waste our valuable produce and get lasting taste), use for soups (like lentil and beans, minestrone) for risotto, or any dish to add a depth of flavor. Cubes are great for that 1 oz splash of flavor.
Anyway, this is a look at my Freezer Pantry, it is so nice to have on hand items that either cost money if I were buy at store or an ingredient that really packs a flavor punch to a meal. Basically the items I have in my freezer pantry are free, bc I have paid for whatever the first use of this item was, but now they are being re-purposed if it were and it is free to us now!!
What items do you keep in your freezer pantry that is a re-puprosoing ingredient
something most ppl will throw away that brings as flavor punch to your meals?